Saturday, November 17, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 46

For the writing prompt Random Fact, I am relaying a tidbit about my maternal 2nd great-grandfather Patrick Maher. Patrick was born about 1819 in Tipperary, Ireland, where he married Mary Flynn. Their first three children, Patrick, Julia, and Alice, were born in Ireland. The youngest three, Bridget (my great-grandmother), Mary, and Ellen, were born in the United States following the family’s emigration in 1855.

Patrick Maher was drafted into Civil War service in the Second Congressional District of Hamilton County, Ohio in May of 1863. He listed that he would be 44 years of age as of the 1st of July, 1863. It is interesting to note that a Michael Maher and a Timothy Maher, also both 44 years of age, appear on the same draft registration page as Patrick. Michael even lived on the same street as Patrick. Were they related?

My random fact about Patrick appeared in a 13 June 1866 article in The Cincinnati Enquirer. The post listed all the Fenians from Cincinnati and the surrounding area who had been captured by the United States steamer Michigan. Some background on the Fenians is as follows:

The Fenian Brotherhood was established in the United States in 1858, with the goal being to help fund a rebellion in Ireland. They wanted to help the Irish in their fight for independence from the British. Later, a group of Irish Americans decided to focus on a closer target: British Canada. At the end of the Civil War in 1866, the Fenians built an army of combat veterans. As over 150,000 Irish immigrants had fought for the Union, they had a large pool of men from which to draw.

On 1 June 1866 one thousand Fenians led an attack into Canada by crossing the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY. It was fairly unsuccessful, and on 3 June the officers and some of their troops were taken aboard the Michigan. The men were held until the Canadian government announced they would not seek extradition of them. Another unsuccessful raid took place on 7 June. The US government began to arrest known and suspected Fenians, and some of the remaining Fenians in Canada were transported back to the US on 12 June 1866. Many of them were later pardoned by President Johnson.

Patrick Maher was one of the men arrested. An article in the Cincinnati paper in 1870 listed Patrick as an officer in the local Fenian organization. Apparently he was not deterred by his previous arrest.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 45

While I have some photographs of male ancestors that I have collected over the years, I do not have one that I think qualifies for the writing prompt Bearded. Instead, I’ll talk about the three brothers who all looked very similar, right down to their stylish mustaches.

My maternal second great-grandparents, Joseph Henry Metz and Barbara (Karch) Metz of Insheim, Germany had nine children, four of whom were boys. The youngest boy, who was also the baby of the family, was my great-grandfather Peter Metz.

One child, Magdalena, died in Insheim, Germany when she was just two months old, but I believe all of the other children lived and died in the Cincinnati/Covington greater area following their emigration to America.

Nicholas, Barbara, Anna and Elisabeth
For three of the four boys, I have been able to locate photographs. The oldest child was Nicholas Metz, who was born in Insheim on 8 August 1842 and died in Cincinnati on 26 February 1920. He arrived in America in 1866, traveling with his mother and five of his siblings aboard the Fulton. By the 1870 census he was living in Cincinnati with his mother and three brothers, Joseph, John, and Peter. Nicholas married Carolyn Blanner, and they had four children: Magdalena, Rosa, John, and Mary. The photo shows him with his sisters Barbara Metz Zimmer, Anna Maria Metz Radenheimer, and Elisabeth Metz.

Joseph and Rosina
Joseph Metz was born 2 October 1853 in Insheim and he died 25 September 1925 in Cincinnati. He was on the same ship as his mother and siblings, arriving in America in 1866. In 1877 he married Magdelena Germann, and they had five children: William, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Helen. Joseph is pictured with his sister Rosina Metz Strassel.

Peter Metz (my great-grandfather) was born in Insheim 30 May 1862 and died in Cincinnati on 4 February 1935. He was only four years old when he arrived in America with his family. On 3 November 1887 he married Bridget Maher, and they went on to have five children: Helen, Mary (my grandmother), Alice, Stella, and Walter. He and Bridget are pictured, probably in the 1920s.

Peter and Bridget
What struck me first in looking at the photos is how much the three men resemble each other. The second thing I noticed is that they all wore their mustaches the same way. I have never seen a photograph of their father Joseph Henry Metz as he died of a bee sting in Insheim at the age of 43. It would be so interesting to see if his sons looked like him. And if he, too, favored wearing a mustache.

Nicholas, Joseph and Peter

Saturday, November 3, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 44

Since we just celebrated Halloween, this week’s writing prompt is Frightening. Though we just had a television show with ghosts filmed in our house, we have not experienced any paranormal activity here nor have I heard of any ghost stories in the family. I did have a creepy experience in a cemetery when I was young though.

Price Hill United Jewish Cemetery
My Grandma and Grandpa Crusham lived on the north end of Rosemont Avenue in Cincinnati. The area was known as West Price Hill. Not too far past my Uncle Charlie’s house, which was easy walking distance from my grandparent’s home, was the entrance to Price Hill United Jewish Cemetery. Going through the cemetery was a short-cut to Rapid Run Park. As there was not much to do at Grandma’s, my brother, cousins and I would head to the park to play.

One day we stayed a little too long at the park, and it grew dark. As we were walking through the cemetery, one of my cousins began telling ghost stories. All of a sudden we heard a strange noise, and it wasn’t coming from any of us. Tha-wunk, tha-wunk, tha-wunk! What in the world could it be?

We began to walk faster, but it seemed we were heading towards the noise and not away from it. Our imaginations ran wild as we envisioned grave robbers opening a crypt, or murderers digging into the ground to dispose of a body. We began to run.

As we rounded a corner we came upon several boys approaching us. One of them was using a baseball bat like a walking stick. Tha-wunk, tha-wunk, tha-wunk! We laughed nervously as we passed them, and made fun of each other for being scared in the first place. But after that we made sure we were always on the way back to grandma’s house way before it got dark.